Anaximander (610 BCE - 546 BCE) was a Milesian School Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher. Like most of the Pre-Socratics, very little is known of Anaximander’s life. He was born, presumably in 610 BCE, in Ionia, the present day Turkish west coast, and lived in Miletus where he died in 546 BCE. He was of the Milesian school of thought and, while it is still debated among Pre-Socratic scholars, most assert that he was a student of Thales and agree that, at the very least, he was influenced by his theories. He is infamously known for writing a philosophical prose poem known as On Nature, of which only a fragment has been passed down. In that fragment Anaximander innovatively attributes the formation of a regulating system that governs our world, the cosmos. Furthermore, he put forth the radical idea that it is the indefinite (apeiron), in both the principle (archē) and element (stoicheion), from which are the things that are. In addition to such ingenuity, Anaximander also developed innovative ideas and theories in astronomy, biology, geography, and geometry. For Anaximander, the origination of the world could not be reduced to a single element or a collection of elements alone. Rather, one needed to understand that the origin was in both principle and element not definable in a definite sense or attribution. While this was a radical perspective in relation to the more determinate theories of others from the Milesian school, it does seem to have some derivation from older Greek mythology that posited the origin of all things from an originary Chaos—a formless state, void, gap. And thus precisely Anaximander’ theory does remain radical in part in its “formlessness” or “unknowability” given the overall Greek tradition of harmony, symmetry and form in all things, in all things in their positive existence.
Thales of Miletus was born in around the mid c. 624 BC in the city of Miletus. The place was an ancient Greek Ionian city, located on the western coast of Asia Minor. The exact dates of his birth and death are unknown. The time of his lifespan is guessed by some events given in the sources. Believing Herodotus, Thales once forecasted a solar eclipse which according to modern methods most probably have had happened on May 28, 585 BC. Diogenes Laertius suggests that his parents were Examyes and Cleobuline. His family belonged to the royal Phoenicia family. Diogenes also said that the Thales’ family had links with the Phoenician prince Cadmus. Diogenes also came out with two contrasting stories. First that Thales got married and had a son named Cybisthus or Cybisthon or else adopted his nephew holding the same name. Second story says that Thales never married; telling his mother that it was too early to marry in his young age and later that it was too late when he grew old. Another early source, Plutarch, recites another story that when Solon met Thales he asked him the reason behind not marrying anyone. On this, Thales said that he disliked the idea of having to worry about children but after many years, he was quite eager to have a family and thus, adopted his nephew. Thales engaged himself in several activities, enrolling an innovator’s role. Some suggests that no writings of his have survived. Also, some say that he composed “On the Solstice” and “On the Equinox”, but both of them have vanished. Diogenes further quoted Thales’ letters to Pherecydes and Solon, proposing to review the book of the former based on religion and also proposing to stay with the latter on his travel from Athens. Thales was a prominent and popular Greek philosopher of pre- Socratic times. He belonged to Miletus in Asia Minor and was among the Seven Sages of Greece. Furthermore, Aristotle considered him as the very first philosopher in the tradition of Greek. With his works, Thales tried to describe and explain the natural phenomena, without taking help of mythology and was extremely influential in this regard. Most of the other...
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